the end of a patent
The story is pretty well known…
In 1981 Jim Downing, an SCCA and IMSA champion, watched his friend and fellow racer (Patrick Jacquermart) die at Mid-Ohio. Jacquermart lost control control of his Renault approaching turn seven and hit the embankment. He was 35 years old.
“There wasn't a mark on him,” recalls Jim Downing. Jacquemart had died from a fracture at the base of his skull.
Downing knew too many racers were dying from basilar skull fractures This happens when the impact of a crash causes a car to stop almost immediately but the head is still moving. A deceleration of more than 42 mph (the Delta V) can cause serious and often fatal injuries.
Downing had crashed badly the year before “so safety was on my mind, and Patrick's death just pushed us to try to do something.”
Downing turned to his brother-in-law, Bruce Hubbard, for help. Hubbard had all the credentials - a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics, and who had worked for General Motors designing the heads of crash-test dummies. The rest is great history….
it was not an immediate hit
but then Dale Earnhardt died and the phone didn’t stop ringing.
In 2000 the first patent was granted
In 2002 FIA 8858 homologation for FHR (frontal head restraints)
The FIA said there had to be 3 manufacturers of the FHR
and the patents were given to…
HDI (Hubbard Downing Industries)
Mercedes, (who had done a lot of the testing for the FHR) gave SCHROTH the right to manufacture the product.
Stand21 - because Jim Downing trusted them
The US6009566A patent…
2000 Application granted
2013 assigned to Simpson Performance Products
(2012 Downing and Hubbard Inc (HDI) was sold to Simpson)
2019, February 19 the US patent expired.
What does this mean?
In general - those FIA (HANS) 8858 devices sold outside the USA can now legally be sold here without fear or being sued.
Stand 21 has already started.
Stand 21 became independent of HDI in 2007 and since that time have been developing their own exclusive FHR (patented) models - chosen by the professionals - worldwide.
So far 2 products are available here - the Stand 21“Club 3” $379 & “the Ultimate” $1299
The F1 “Featherlight” available April
We think the end of the patent is good news for our industry. It will lead to more diversity, more innovation and lower prices. BUT - choose carefully - your neck needs the best protection.